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Intelligence official: Telegram is often used as legal darknet

20.05.2024, 11:20

The messenger app Telegram is being used as a legal alternative to DarkNet where one can find drug dealers and group chats for people who want to dodge the draft, said the Defense Ministry's intelligence representative Andriy Yusov in his interview with the Center for Combating Disinformation.

"Of course, this has to do with psyops. Anonymous Telegram channels are being used to try and put pressure on Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens, to influence them. Of course, the state should not and can not afford to silently watch it happen. I will not use big words such as 'ban' or other such things, but regulating it, de-anonymizing such tools – that is definitely necessary," said Andriy Yusov.

He noted that Russians actively use TikTok for mass propaganda as well as Telegram. At the same time, according to the intelligence representative, TikTok is receptive to Ukrainian officials' proposals regarding cooperation to respond to such phenomena.

"By the way, speaking of Telegram, there is either no such dialogue with this platform, or it is extremely unsatisfactory," Yusov added.

Telegram's risks for Ukraine

On March 27, 2024, the Intelligence Department chief Kyrylo Budanov said that Telegram posed a problem for Ukraine's national security.

In February 2024, the DIU admitted that Telegram posed multiple risks to Ukraine's security and the need to look for solutions to this problem.

On March 21, 2024, deputy Mykola Knyazhytsky announced that he would initiate a draft bill on imposing regulations on Telegram and similar platforms in Ukraine. As soon as March 25, the draft bill "On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Regulation of Information Sharing Platforms Used to Disseminate Mass Information" was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada.

Oleksandr Melnychenko of the SBU Department of Counterintelligence and National Information Security has said that Telegram servers are most likely located in Russia.

Read the IMI study to learn how the top-100 Telegram channels in the Ukrainian segment spread fake news and manipulate the subject of mobilization.

On April 24, Telegram founder Pavel Durov announced that he had received official letters from Apple demanding that the platform block news and propaganda channels for users with Ukrainian SIM cards.

The Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that on April 28 Telegram blocked several bots of Ukrainian official bodies that were used to fight against Russia's armed aggression in Ukraine, including the Main Intelligence Bot. Later, the bots resumed their work.

On April 30, 2024, the head of the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting, Olha Herasymiuk, said that the government should stop using Telergam for official communication.

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